Scottish Beef Burgers Readily Available but Not at all Supermarkets

During a period of prolonged warm weather many in Scotland will be hoping to enjoy some high-quality Scotch Beef burgers.

Last week NFU Scotland members and staff took part in a burger shelf watch, identifying the volumes of home-produced beef burgers available on Scottish supermarket shelves.

The secret shoppers counted over 2,500 packs of burgers across some of the largest national grocery chains.  Shelf watch results demonstrated that an overwhelming 96 per cent of burgers were home-produced but that less than half of these were explicitly Scottish.

While the shelf watch focused on supermarket own-label packs, those taking part in the shelf watch also told NFU Scotland that some branded products were carrying unclear origin labelling despite the brands claiming association with Scotland.

The shelf watch is part of a six week campaign from the Union which aims to encourage shoppers to look for Scottish beef during their next trip the shops, with the hashtag #BackScotchBeef.

Although this shelf watch only included results from the main supermarkets, shoppers are also encouraged to visit their local butchers, who are often strong supporters of the Scotch Beef PGI.

Commenting on the results NFU Scotland Livestock Committee Chairman Jimmy Ireland, a beef farmer from Ayrshire, said “The good news here is that the general public can find Scottish burgers available in most supermarkets in Scotland.  

However, it’s surprising to see that they were hard to find in two of the nations largest retailers, ASDA and Sainsbury’s.

“With farmers struggling to make any return from the market at the moment the message is clear that people should back Scotch Beef as much as possible this barbecue season.

“Aldi and Tesco topped the chart for the availability of Scotch Beef burgers, with 86 per cent of packs in Aldi and 72 per cent of packs in Tesco clearly labelled with the Scotch Beef PGI.

“However, there was some unclear mixed origin labelling found on own-label products in ASDA as well as on branded products not included in the survey.  This once again demonstrates the need to increase transparency of origin labelling to ensure shoppers have the information they need to choose Scotch every time.

“NFU Scotland has sent the results of the shelf watch to all the major retailers to make them aware of the results.  I would urge those retailers with only limited Scottish product available to increase their offering.”

Notes to Editors

  • More details on NFU Scotland’s #BackScotchBeef campaign can be found on NFU Scotland’s social media channels as well as on the website at
  • NFU Scotland’s burger shelf watch surveyed 36 supermarket stores, in the Midlothian area, looking at fresh beef offerings.
  • The NFU Scotland burger shelf watch took place between 4 July and 15 July 2019 and looked at fresh burgers on the aisle.
  • Shelf watch results demonstrated a high commitment to fresh Scotch Beef Burgers from Tesco and Aldi and a strong Scottish offering from Lidl.
  • In total 2,834 packs were counted, with 1,134 labelled as Scottish, 1,589 labelled as British, 31 labelled as Irish and 80 with unclear (mixed origin) labelling.
  • In summary, the shelf watch findings were:
    • Aldi – Total number of packs: 675 (579 Scottish, 96 British).  Stores visited: Inveralmond (Perth), Gorgie (Edinburgh), Peterhead, Inverurie, Ellon, St Andrews.
    • ASDA – Total number of packs: 293 (17 Scottish, 196 British, 80 mixed/unclear).  Stores visited: Fraserburgh, Kilmarnock, Chesser (Edinburgh), Huntly, Peterhead.
    • Co-op – Total number of packs: 62 (24 Scottish, 38 British).  Stores visited: Fraserburgh, Dalry (Edinburgh), Galston, Oldmeldrum.
    • Lidl – Total number of packs: 255 (126 Scottish, 129 British).  Stores visited: Fraserburgh, Dalry (Edinburgh), Peterhead, Inverurie.
    • Marks & Spencer – Total number of packs: 594 (594 British).  Stores visited: Inveralmond (Perth), Heathfield (Ayr), Gyle (Edinburgh), Inverurie.
    • Morrisons – Total number of packs: 250 (44 Scottish, 206 British).  Stores visited: Gyle (Edinburgh), Inverurie, Peterhead.
    • Sainsbury’s – Total number of packs: 154 (154 British).  Stores visited: Gyle (Edinburgh).
    • Tesco – Total number of packs: 478 (344 Scottish, 103 British, 31 Irish).  Stores visited: Fraserburgh, Crieff Road (Perth), Huntly, Corstorphine (Edinburgh), Inverurie, Banff, Ellon, Keith.
    • Waitrose – Total number of packs: 73 (73 British).  Stores visited: Morningside (Edinburgh).


Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 100/19

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About The Author

Douglas Ross

As a graduate in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, NFU Scotland’s Communications Assistant Douglas Ross understands how important the media is for communicating with members. As the son of a Highlands farmer, Douglas has been involved in the industry his entire life before joining NFU Scotland in 2017.

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